What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx's)

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by philip » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:45 am

CZ Rider wrote:
8bit9bot wrote:You wanna hear DIFFERENT sounding examples of FM synthesis... check out demos of the Synclavier - it uses 2 operator setup... but the carrier is additive and you can basically make any waveform you want with it... and then freq. mod. it with a sine.
I was going to mention the Synclavier II that pre-dated the Yamaha series of strictly FM synthesizers. The Sync II is only a two operator FM with an envelope on the ammount of FM, sounding like a filter. The Sync II could also FM a resynthesis waveform for even more fun.
Little demo here of a resynthesis sound of the Lucky Man Moog where I turn the FM ammount to different ratios.

Another demo where you can hear the perfect intervals being dialed in. Octave intervals, fifths, and fourths sound tonal while the in between intervals sound more bell like.

I think there was more real time control of the FM on the Sync II then there was on the DX series? Not sure though, don't have a DX7 but have a TX-802 and a few other similar Yamahas.
I thought to get the same FM sounds on an analog oscillator you need to have a through zero type modulating oscillator? I get similar tones from tuned FM on my Moog, but not quite the same as the FM from the Sync II. They both do FM though.
Image

The Casio PD way of doing almost the same thing is still my favorite of all those digitals. Something about the sound of those Casios sounds alive, like the oscillators are free runing. Where pressing the same key produces a slightly different sound. Not boring or mechanical sounding at all. Some kind of Casio magic in the circuits.

Which casios do you mean?

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by tekkentool » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:32 pm

Casio PD = Phase distortion = CZ-101, CZ-1000, CZ-3000, CZ-1.

I actually have a CZ-1 sitting around but I have to say it doesn't get too much use, sound is cool but it's shite to program IMO.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by AzuriteBlast » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:11 pm

Hello from an old FM nut! It is interesting to read about the Synclavier and hear its sounds. A beautiful machine. I always wondered how these old synths can sound so good with only so simple FM algorithms. I mean the Synclavier and Yamaha GS series.

I love exploring uncharted FM landscapes, no matter what instrument. I wish I had the Minimoog, I'd be doing FM all day on it.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by pflosi » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:03 pm

CZ Rider wrote: I thought to get the same FM sounds on an analog oscillator you need to have a through zero type modulating oscillator? I get similar tones from tuned FM on my Moog, but not quite the same as the FM from the Sync II. They both do FM though.
Through-zero will mainly help to stay in tune, no matter how much modulation you throw at the osc... With non-through-zero you might have to retune after dialling in the sound you want, since audio rate modulation "shifts" the frequency of the modulated osc.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by CZ Rider » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:08 pm

pflosi wrote: Through-zero will mainly help to stay in tune, no matter how much modulation you throw at the osc... With non-through-zero you might have to retune after dialling in the sound you want, since audio rate modulation "shifts" the frequency of the modulated osc.
Thanks for that explanation! That makes sense of something I never really knew why there was a difference. When you FM with the Moog oscillators it does act like pitchbend, where the FM on those digitals keep the same pitch sounding more like filter or wavefolder. Cool! 8-)

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by Bitexion » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:14 pm

Yeah, working with a DX7, you change the pitch between operator and modulator in fixed ratios, like 0,5:1, 1:2, 1:3 and the timbre changes accordingly. 1:2 will produce an almost square wave sound for instance. If you set the ratio to 1:2,1 you get clanorous timbres on some keys and clean timbres on other keys since the frequency doesn't "add up" all the time.
Then you move on from there.
The 6 "oscillators" are arranged into 32 premade stacks called Algorithms, they are all pictured on the front panel of the synth. You usually have 2 or 3 operators, and the rest are connected in various way as modulators. You only really hear the pitch of the operators at the bottom, the ones stacked above them are just to change the timbre. You can sort of emulate a low pass filter by changing the "volume" level of the modulation between the operators and modulators.

a 1:1 frequency ratio will sound like an extremely brash, distorted sawtooth wave since you basically max out all the harmonics. If you dial down the modulation volume to about 71, you get a perfectly fine sawtooth wave. Use an algorithm that has 3x2 stacked in parallell, and you can get 3 sawtooth waves you can detune against eachother like you would with a Minimoog. Or set the frequency ratio to 1:2 and you get three separate squarewaves to do with as you please.

Of course you CAN fine tune operators and create clangorous FM sounds if you want to. Every operator has its own envelope too.

The notorious El.Piano preset is made by using a 3x2 algorithm, the first two stacks producing the base tone (kind of emulating two triangle waves detuned), the third stack is a the sharp "tines" sound, just a short attack of very high harmonics. Can change the sharpness of the tines (op-mod volume) with velocity, so you get soft tines or hard tines.
If you use a different algorithm and change a few settings, you suddenly get a fat phasing sound aswell because you cross modulate between two stacks with an LFO.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by Scories » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:23 pm

[nvrmnd]
Last edited by Scories on Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by CS_TBL » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:36 pm

AzuriteBlast wrote:I love exploring uncharted FM landscapes, no matter what instrument. I wish I had the Minimoog, I'd be doing FM all day on it.
Then, click the link in my signature!
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by pflosi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:54 am

CZ Rider wrote:
pflosi wrote: Through-zero will mainly help to stay in tune, no matter how much modulation you throw at the osc... With non-through-zero you might have to retune after dialling in the sound you want, since audio rate modulation "shifts" the frequency of the modulated osc.
Thanks for that explanation! That makes sense of something I never really knew why there was a difference. When you FM with the Moog oscillators it does act like pitchbend, where the FM on those digitals keep the same pitch sounding more like filter or wavefolder. Cool! 8-)
You're welcome! That's exactly the effect it has on the "musical" side of things (my explanation wasn't very technical)...

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by Tiger Jackson » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:19 pm

Bitexion wrote:It is why you can quite easily identify DX7 sounds, specially ones with envelopes, as there is no lowpass filter, you modulate the operator volume levels with the envelope instead, getting a similar effect to a filter cutoff sweep, but still distinctly different.

The later Yamaha FM synths like the SY-series let you use other waveforms than sine waves on the operators too, like sawtooth, pulse, square etc, and lowpass filters. Sort of like the Synclavier you describe.
When all 6 operators are not modulating eachother but in "parallell", you just hear the pure sound of each operator, can do detuning and all the usual analogue type stuff.
Why didn't the dx's have a filter?

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by 8bit9bot » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:37 pm

Tiger Jackson wrote: Why didn't the dx's have a filter?
they dont need one! if you've ever taken an FM generated waveform (with lots of harmonics) and ran it thru a LPF w/ an envelope you will notice it sounds very similar to simply controling modulator(s) amplitude envelope - really... using pure FM sounds better than combining it with subtractive (in most cases) - perhaps some FM8 users can show me why i am wrong... but... in the 80s the DXs definitely didn't need LPFs and cost much less to make without them

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by Bitexion » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:44 pm

Yup, the SY synths got a filter simply because people couldn't get their heads around programming the DX synths.
They also got more waveforms, the usual "analog" waveforms among them, so you didn't really have to know any FM synthesis to make usual synth sounds with those.

Dave Massey, the writer of "The Complete DX7 I/II" tutorial/training books, says in the intro that he held FM synthesis classes for musicians for years in the mid-late 80s, and was astonished at the amount of professional musicians who had never used anything but presets on their DX synths. But everyone bought them because they were new and fancy.
The most frequent complaint he got was that they couldn't find a lowpass filter so they didn't understand anything.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by tekkentool » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:47 am

8bit9bot wrote: they dont need one! if you've ever taken an FM generated waveform (with lots of harmonics) and ran it thru a LPF w/ an envelope you will notice it sounds very similar to simply controling modulator(s) amplitude envelope - really... using pure FM sounds better than combining it with subtractive (in most cases) - perhaps some FM8 users can show me why i am wrong... but... in the 80s the DXs definitely didn't need LPFs and cost much less to make without them
I think combining FM with external filter is the absolute s**t, just don't bother with an LPF because LPF's are usually boring as s**t anyway. Usually a couple of band reject filters or EQ modulation then maybe an LPF at the end of a chain and you're getting some wicked modulated sounds. The kind of modulation of the frequency output you can do within FM8 combined with stuff like Notch or band reject filters means you can get some VERY complex end results.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by Jabberwalky » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:01 am

This has probably been considered and rejected due to cost, but why has a knobby FM synth never been created in a compact synthesizer? The Dx200 is the only one springing to mind.

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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Post by tekkentool » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:40 am

Jabberwalky wrote:This has probably been considered and rejected due to cost, but why has a knobby FM synth never been created in a compact synthesizer? The Dx200 is the only one springing to mind.
Like the only people who give a s**t about programming FM anymore are nerds and dubstep producers (and they don't use hardware that much).

Knobs don't even seem like a good way to program FM to me, The computer is the natural habitat for FM imo.

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